Foraging Damages the Park

  • The Park's landscapes are carefully planted and maintained by Conservancy staff and volunteers.
  • A forager taking a sizable portion of the Park home with her. Image source: nycgardening.blogspot.com

Don't let its serene forests and lush vegetation fool you: Central Park is a completely man-made and highly cultivated landscape. Every one of the Park's 843 acres has been carefully designed and it takes a team of nearly 200 in-field Conservancy staffers and over 900 volunteers to maintain it all. The team works hard to make the Park a place where New Yorkers and visitors can feel as if they're surrounded by nature. Unfortunately, a small but growing number of foragers have mistaken the Park's natural appearance for a wild landscape. Unlike a wild forest, the Park doesn't simply renew itself. Foraging damages the Park's plants, deprives wildlife of food and threatens the Park's horticultural diversity.

"The impact on the Park is tremendous," said Neil Calvanese, the Conservancy's Vice President of Operations. "Foraging groups are taking kids into the Park now, and it's teaching them an absolutely horrible lesson: that you can go into a public park that is used by 38 million people a year and think you can pick your salad."

Edible plants are part of the Park's diverse ecosystem. While a single pluck may seem harmless, a single pluck repeated 38 million times (by each of the Park's visitors annually) wouldn't leave much. We encourage you to bring a picnic to the Park, and only ask that you don't make a picnic out of the Park.

Get the official guide to Central Park.

Things to See

  • Bow Bridge in Central Park Bow Bridge

    The first cast-iron bridge in the Park (and the second oldest in America), the bridge is named for its graceful shape, reminiscent of the bow of an archer or violinist.